John M. Parker was born about 1772, in South Carolina.  The son of John and Jane Parker,  he moved with his family to North Carolina and grew up there, the oldest child in his family. John told his grandson of the day, while his father was away fighting for our country's freedom, when Tories raided their farm while young John was out with the horse, plowing the field. First the Tories robbed the house, tearing up all the featherbeds and scattering feathers all over the ground, and then they gathered all of the horses, sheep, and cattle and drove them away, leaving the family destitute. John's mother gathered leaves for her children to sleep on and the next morning set her children to working in the field. 
John's father John died in Wilkes County, North Carolina, leaving a will naming his wife and children, which he made on January 17, 1791, and which was probated in January of 1792. 
Shortly after his father died, John married Elizabeth Carrell in Wilkes County, North Carolina in January of 1793,  and the couple started their family there. Luke, John, Sampson, and James were born in North Carolina, and then the family moved to Tennessee, where Jane and William were born.
John's grandson Chrisman stated in his memoir that John served in the War of 1812 and was at the Battle of New Orleans when Packenham was killed. It would be nice to find records to corroborate that.
On March 12, 1828, John was granted 60 acres on Clear Fork in Whitley County, Kentucky, but in 1830, the family was still living in Claiborne County, Tennessee. 
John's son Sampson received grants i 1833 and 1838 for a total of 250 acres on Beckey's Creek in Whitley County,  and it appears that John and Elizabeth were living with Sampson's family in 1840. 
John and Elizabeth's daughter Jane married William T. Bull in Harlan County, Kentucky, in 1837, and it appears that by 1850, John and Elizabeth had moved to Knox County, Kentucky, to be near her and her family.  
John passed away at Sampson's home on January 1, 1851, leaving Elizabeth a widow. After John's death, Elizabeth moved in with her daughter Jane and her family, and the last record we have of Elizabeth is the census entry in 1860, when she is listed in their household at the age of 84. 
John is widely believed to be the brother of the William Parker who married Candace Austin in Wilkes County, North Carolina,  but we have been unable to confirm that with DNA testing. In a time when people tended to have large families, William Parker and Candace Austin were only known to have had one son, William Henley Parker, so one wonders whether perhaps William Henley Parker was adopted. A good paper trail exists to his descendant who had DNA testing, but the Y-DNA of these two Parker lines shows they are not biologically related through their patrilines, though they may well be otherwise related. The patriline from the descendants of John M. Parker has been well established by the testing of descendants of three of his sons: Luke, Sampson, and James. Our Parkers are in Group 22 of the Parker DNA Project.
John is one of 4 patriarchs in Group 22 of the Parker DNA Project, closely related to the other three, but we do not know exactly how. The earliest of these four patriarchs is Edward Parker,  born in 1754 in Pitt County, North Carolina. 
According to the one census record where his place of birth was stated, John was born about 1773 in South Carolina.  That this entry pertains to our John & Elizabeth Parker is supported by the proximity of their daughter, Jane Parker Bull, whose Bible contained a list of her and brothers' names and birth dates.   John's putative brother, the William Parker who married Candace Austin in Wilkes County, was born in South Carolina.  The 1850 census entry for John Parker, made while he was still alive, is likely to be closer to the truth about his age and birthplace than the entry in the Whitley County Death Register, which recites that he was born in North Carolina and that he was 84 years old when he died.
John M. Parker is widely reported to have died January 1, 1857, and it is easy to see why when one looks at the page where the oaths of the appraisers of the Estate of John M. Parker, Dec'd are certified on October 11 and the inventory and appraisal and the estate sale accounting are recorded on October 18. The way the clerk writes the numeral 5 (he separates the horizontal stroke at the top of the 5 from the vertical stroke it is usually attached to) causes a problem, but only when the numeral following the 5 is a 1; the horizontal stroke at the top of the 5, separated from the place it belongs, butts up against the 1 and makes it appear to be a 7. Only if one removes the misplaced horizontal stroke of the 5 will the numeral 1 appear to be a 1; otherwise, everyone mistakenly reads the 1 as a 7.  Anyone reading only that page would think that the year was 1857, but fortunately the settlement of the estate was approved and ordered to be recorded in 1853 and actually recorded in 1854, when the clerk's handwriting peculiarity wouldn't cause the problem it caused with the 1851 records. Although the date of the judge's signature on the settlement is not legible at the bottom of the page where the settlement appears, the clerk's certificate at the top of the following page shows that the Settlement was ordered to be recorded on June 20, 1853 and duly recorded by the clerk on August 15, 1854. 
Moreover, one can see that the problem page is contained in the volume of probate records from 1818 to 1854, and it is between the items recorded in 1850 and the items recorded in in 1852; all of the items recorded in that space were clearly recorded in 1851, no matter how the misleading handwriting problem makes the date appear. William F. Parker caught the error concerning John M. Parker's date of death and brought it to others' attention.
The problem just discussed apparently caused a secondary reason for error as to the year of John Parker's death when Whitley County prepared a typewritten index of its probate records in 1948. As deceived as everyone else was by the 1851 clerk's entries, the clerk working on the indexing of the Will Records in 1948 first typed: Appraisement 1857 [Vol.] 1 [p.] 216. Then it appears that when he got to the items recorded in 1854 and went to enter the date of the Settlement of the estate, he realized there had to be an error since the settlement could not come before the appraisement, checked the Death Register and saw that John Parker died in 1851 and made a little notation "1857" up near the corner of the double-page entry in the death register to remind himself to fix the "1857" entry in the will index, and then in the will index handwrote 1851 in parentheses beside the typewritten 1857.  Now when people see a photocopy of the page of the Whitley County Death Register is recorded, they see the index clerks's little notation and think that John Parker died in 1857, compounding the original problem with the will records.
John was born about 1772. He passed away about 1851. 
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